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One very nice (but not bank-breaking) dinner in October

Thanks for all the input to my post. Nsxtasy, I've been to all the Gold Coast and River North places you mentioned, and I actually had considered Le Colonial, Hugo's, and Café Spiaggia for our dinner, but, having been to them plenty of times, I want to find someplace that's new to me (even if they'd all be new to her). Not interested in Lou Malnati's because I don't like their pizza. Sorry. I got a reservation at North Pond, and I think I'm down to that or GT. My ex raves about Tanta, however, and I think my SO would like that style of food. Also, Gage had once been on my short list and I never made it there; is that still a thing? Thanks again.

1 day ago
Wayno in Chicago Area

One very nice (but not bank-breaking) dinner in October

Celebrating an occasion with my SO in Chicago on the SATURDAY night before we fly out on vacay. It's been a few years since I regularly traveled to Chicago at least twice a month, when I did a pretty fair job of eating my way around the city; now I'm quite a bit behind the curve. My first choice would be Purple Pig, but I'm not sure we're going to get into town early enough to beat the crowd. Back when I was a regular visitor, North Pond was on my short list, but I never got there. Is it still worthy? If not, others I've been considering are Tanta, Bavette's, GT Oyster, and Sable (but read it may be only so-so). We're open to most cuisine, but my SO's palette is considerably more limited than mine. Not looking at super high priced(no Alinea or Spiaggia), nor at deconstructed or molecular creativity (so no Schwa). Want to be relatively close to Gold Coast (River North is fine and even West Loop may be - and I know NP is in Lincoln Pk) because we HAVE to go to Tavern on Rush for a drink at some point that night since it will be 5 years to the day since we met each other at the bar there. Awww... Any suggestions or comments on the places I've been considering?

Sep 13, 2014
Wayno in Chicago Area

Oklahoma Joe's to change name

Not sure the name change is necessary; when I was driving through KC a couple weeks ago and went to hit up Joe's, the line seemed to stretch all the way to Oklahoma. Wound up at LC's instead. Next time I drive through, hopefully it won't be a Saturday afternoon.

Sep 09, 2014
Wayno in Great Plains
1

St. Louis recommendations

Taste by Niche is in the Central West End and well within 20 mins. Small place with great cocktails and great small plates. Gets crowded but you'd be fine sitting at the bar; friendly service and fun vibe.

Sep 05, 2014
Wayno in Great Plains

Denver - nice dinner for this Thurs?

LA hound needing a rec for good food this Thurs night. A few years ago I was in Denver every other week, so I've been to Barolo, Rioja, ChoLon, Fruition, Root Down, Izakaya Den, Sushi Saba, Happa and Linger, and probably others I'm forgetting. Any new or different places of a similar ilk, in terms of quality food in a nice and fun atmosphere! I recall a seafood place by Wash Park Grill right near the park that I can't recall name, but I'd had my sights on at one time. Also the friends we are taking out on Thurs have suggested Stoic and Genuine, but that is new to me and I haven't looked into it. Thanks for any thoughts.

Aug 05, 2014
Wayno in Mountain States

Texas Blue Bell ice cream, is it even possible to find it in Los Angeles ???

2 weeks ago I discovered that they serve it at least one Subway in the Indianapolis suburbs.

Jul 29, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

AOC tomorrow night (and Coni's last weekend)

Fries were quite good. Not sure they were $12.00 good, but we were paying to be there. The cocktails were terrific. $18 per.

Jul 28, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

AOC tomorrow night (and Coni's last weekend)

Reporting back. Loved the dinner at AOC. Everything on the menu sounded like something I wanted (in distinct contrast to Rustic Canyon a couple weeks ago, where almost nothing sounded that good to me - and I know that may simply reflect personal taste and that many folks think RC puts out really good food, whereas it did little for me). There were four of us at AOC, and the server suggested we order 8 to 10 small plates. We went with only 7, plus one dessert, and that was plenty. The super-highlights were the sweet corn and avocado salad, the brioche with prosciutto, gruyere, frisee and a fried egg, the Spanish fried chicken and the pappardelle w/ wild mushrooms. I also liked the soft-shell crab with fried green tomatoes, but it wasn't quite as inspiring as the former dishes. The braised black kale was fine, but nothing special. The only thing I definitely would not order again was the shrimp and scallop ceviche. I personally was against ordering it to begin with, but the SO wanted it, and I didn't want to be (or at least not appear to be) a domineering control freak, so I let it go (and thereby forewent ordering the grilled peaches with ricotta, which I really wanted instead, but the SO has a pathological aversion to fruit that is either cooked [so no pie] or is in a savory dish - bizarre, I know!). Anyway, the ceviche was really tiny for the price; tasted fine, but after being at Coni's only a few days earlier, it was clearly a silly thing to order at AOC. The other disappointment was the "AOC bread." Very mediocre to poor bread; didn't even taste that fresh, and I couldn't figure out why they'd name it epynomously (?) if it was not at all special (and it cost $2). But neither of those drawbacks took away from the array of stellar dishes. I wish we had ordered one of the large platters (if we had room); the pile of roasted chicken being carried by our table looked superb. We shared the berry/rhubarb crisp for dessert (despite SO's aversion to cooked fruit). I thought it was quite good. With a delicious Dolcetto (2011 - $50), the tab was $180 before tip. Would love to return to AOC. We had pre-dinner cocktails (and French fries) at the bar at the Hotel Bel Air. Damn, that's a nice spot!

Jul 28, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

AOC tomorrow night (and Coni's last weekend)

Still working on bucket list checks before my SoCal departure in a week, and tomorrow night it will be AOC. Unfortunately there's a private event on the patio so we'll be inside; I assume that's not a complete tragedy. What are the "must haves" or highly-recommended dishes at AOC?

Finally hit up Coni's on Sunday after landing at LAX. I didn't call ahead to verify that Sergio would be at the helm, but, thankfully, he was indeed cooking at Sunday lunch. What awesome ceviche, with shrimp, octopus and fish, and jicama and cucumber! Also enjoyed the camarones borrachos. Wanted to try the marlin tacos, but lacked the bandwith. Need to squeeze in a return visit.

Again, what to eat at AOC?

Jul 25, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

2014 Soccer World Cup viewing locations in L.A. area

If there were a Golden Ball, or a Golden Boot, for CH posters, it would be awarded to you.

Jul 14, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Best Eye Candy Staff in town

My SO doesn't pretend to be a CH, so I'll be her proxy and say that she enjoys gazing at the bartenders at Bar Toscana.

Jul 11, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Orleans and York: Now with a second location in Inglewood

Since I can't - or shouldn't - eat 2 sandwiches at one sitting, it's nice to know you can have a catfish/shrimp combo. Just order the catfish with extra shrimp. Costs a couple bucks extra as I recall.

Jul 11, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Tentative Dining Itinerary for June Vacation

Sounds like he hasn't expanded his repertoire; he's just expanded. I met him at a party years ago when he was in his prime. Now we can't even see the top of the hill anymore.

Jul 11, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Steak 'N Shake coming to Santa Monica

I know they serve chili straight up and chili mac, with noodles, but not sure about 3 ways. My experience with 3-ways is sadly limited. But, when it comes to fast food chili, SnS is nothing special; I actually would much rather have Wendy's.

Jul 08, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Steak 'N Shake coming to Santa Monica

Since I'm resident in the St. Louis area much of the time, I'm used to SnS, as there's one less than a mile from my house here. But, even if I am jaded, I wouldn't get all that excited about their appearance in SM. I would rather have an SnS burger than In n Out but not by much. However, I would MUCH rather than SnS shakes than In n Out's. And for a long time - maybe still?? - SnS offered side by side shakes: e.g., one vertical half chocolate and the other banana (or whatever flavors you choose). Love those! For semi-fast burgers, though, I'd prefer more SmashBurger outlets in LA. But I'm really jonesing to return to Pono, which is obviously more of a sit down and wait burger; I really liked that place.

Best Eye Candy Staff in town

Hakkasan; Tasting Kitchen; Villa Blanca (yuck - see above, Vanderclump); Eggslut

Jul 06, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

2 days in LA Mid-City area

My one vehement comment is, if you're gonna do dinner on the west side or in SaMo, if you can get in Tar & Roses, I would go there 7 days a week instead of Rustic Canyon. Maybe RC was a destination when Evan Funke was the chef, but after last week's meal there, all I can say is, meh. Way overpriced, and way uninspiring. Actually difficult to find something I really wanted to order. It wasn't exactly boring, but at that price point, I'd never go back.

Jul 04, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

2 days in LA Mid-City area

Venice is one of the best eating ghettos around. That's not a solitary opinion by any means. And, maybe it's a bit of an overstatement, but there's a lot from which to choose in the way of very good meals.

2 days in LA Mid-City area

And given all those good westside/coastal choices, I too question the selection of R+D for one of the dinners. And if you can't make it to Ricky's, Santa Monica has Tacos Puntas Cabras, to which I'm pretty sure you've already been referred. And all of the Asian spots on Sawtelle are quite close by, though parking is sometimes challenging - my advice is to park a few blocks to the west in the residential neighborhood and you'll be fine if you do want to walk up and down Sawtelle. And Sawtelle is not just Asian - there's pizza and Italian at Clusi Batusi and southern cooking at Flores Lady's Gunboat Society (or whatever the new moniker is).

Jul 03, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area
1

2 days in LA Mid-City area

And, unfortunately, in a month I won't be here; and, once again, most of my posts will be on the Great Plains board dealing with the dining options in the St. Louis area. Talk about being a long f'ing way from the ocean!

Jul 02, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

2 days in LA Mid-City area

You're right; it's not a toss up. I'd recommend staying in SM or on the west side any day. But we'll just have to disagree about that one, and, since we still don't know the OP's demographic or preferences, it's academic. And we do agree about plenty of restaurants in both areas, and there are plenty of great choices.

Jul 02, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Has anyone eaten Flynn McGarry's cuisine?

You too young to remember National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?

Jul 02, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Fun upbeat restaurants in Beverly Hills?

This may be "BH Adjacent" but the SLS hotel, where Bazaar is, has a very "scenic" bar at night.

Jul 02, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

2 days in LA Mid-City area

Jesse raises a good point about hiking. We have awesome hiking trails on the west side as well. I like hiking Runyon, but you can hike Paseo Miramar among countless other trails, and get a panoramic ocean view as well as of downtown. There is a boatload of adventurous, not overly pricey and high quality food options on the west side. Someone already mentioned the Little Osaka area on Sawtelle and others have mentioned the sushi options that are west of the 405. Plus Tacos Puntas Cabras and the slew of places in Venice. So, again, I think it comes down to where you want to be based - in the dry, hot inland, or by the ocean. Both are good.

Jul 02, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Fun upbeat restaurants in Beverly Hills?

Presuming you mean dinner, not lunch. What do you want in the way of food? Is there a budget? Mastros, esp the Penthouse, is a really good scene if you're an older guy or a younger female (IMHO),but the food is pricey and nothing other than typical upscale steakhouse fare. Bouchon also presents a fun scene and good food. Villa Blanca is a pretty crappy restaurant, but the people watching is excellent. Try to define more about what you are looking for in terms of a "scene" or what you want in the way of eats and drinks. There are plenty of additional options. Also, where in BH is your base?

Jul 02, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

2 days in LA Mid-City area

Something good to know in addressing your location question is the extent to which the beach/ocean and those views/vibes are important. For many of my visitors (and, so you know my bias, I live on the far west side, just uphill from the beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu), it is critical to be located in an area where they have easy access to the coast because that is a major reason why they are visiting. They want to be near the ocean, if only to be able easily to walk/run along the beach or bluff or to have drinks near the ocean. Since there are many good eating places on the west side (big fan here of Tar & Roses in SM and several of the places on Abbott Kinney in Venice), you may well enjoy staying in SM (and we can recommend some hotels if we bury the recs in comments about food); OTOH, if the coastal scene is not that important and access to DTLA and GCM (and I LOVE the revamped GCM!) is paramount, then stay inland.

Jul 02, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Blue Plate Oysterette 3d Street and Crescent Hts

Jesse, Here's a copy and paste of what I wrote about BPO/SM last year (and indicates, re the lobster roll, that I had a choice of CT or ME style [and I can't recall if Brentwood provides that choice or if it's the cold/mayo version only], and reveals that my go-to clam chowder is at Swan in SF, whereas BPO's was good enough but not great):
"I was jonesing for a lobster roll, and that’s where I started. It’s been reviewed here countless times already. It’s on the small side, esp for the price. The lobster could be more flavorful, but, while I usually choose warm butter, I went with the default salad style/mayo dressing this time; and, happily, true to their word, the dressing was lightly administered and didn’t overwhelm the lobster (but the lobster itself, while fine, could have been better – not sure why, maybe needed more of the succulent body meat with claw meat mixed in). Then again, I could draw an off-color analogy here and say that, like some other things, even a less-than-stellar lobster roll is still enjoyable. I could have done without the topping of chives, however. Then I tried the clam chowder. While it was not horrendously thick like some bad versions, it was still too a bit heavy in texture and too light on clams and clam flavor. If you’ve ever had the buttery, clammy chowder at Swan Oyster Depot in SF, you’ll know what I crave. Certainly not enough clams here, and the advertised bacon was undetectable. I also thought it could have done without the spicy heat; I would have preferred to add my own hot sauce. Again, though it wasn’t great, I finished every drop and would probably order it again when I return. Finally, had a few raw clams (little necks) on the half shell, and they were super."

Jul 02, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Blue Plate Oysterette 3d Street and Crescent Hts

So the lobster roll at BPO/3rd St. is a buck cheaper, at $23, than at the original outpost in SM. It's a pretty good rendition, but overpriced. Still prefer the $18 version at Brentwood Café. The fried clams there, however, are worth a trip. Hopefully the servers on 3rd are as nice as they are in SM.

Jul 02, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

2 days in LA Mid-City area

Shophouse? Seriously? For a visitor to LA? If you were coming to LA to sample Mexican food, hopefully nobody here would send you to Chipotle; likewise, we shouldn't be directing you toward Shophouse for some kind of pan-Asian disappointment.

Jul 02, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area

Nice restaurant in LA for thursday date night

Thanks. I wasn't sure. I think it's only listed as $$ on OT, but that doesn't mean all that much. Seems like a cool spot; I'd like to squeeze it in before my SoCal exit.

Jul 01, 2014
Wayno in Los Angeles Area