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DonnyMac's Profile

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Dinner at Animal 12/30--Review

BunnieBear, thanks for the review. The website has a picture showing wine but no link to a list - how is the wine selection?

Jan 06, 2009
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Bristol Farms vs. Whole Foods meat prices (OC)

Bristol Farms meats are consistently far better, especially if you plan to throw down for dry aged and/or prime beef or lamb.

Whole Foods charges an unreal premium for meat that simply never delivers, and their butchers are not competent on top of it (if you don't believe me, ask them to butcher a flat iron steak and then go look up how it should be cut, and there will be no resemblance).

Jan 06, 2009
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

New parents night out $100.00 for 2, need ideas

Animal

Jan 06, 2009
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

"Americana at Brand" in Glendale, CA

I'm surprised you liked the gelato on Caffe Primo - I thought it was very weak, both in texture and intensity of flavor, but perhaps only the chocolate had that problem. I haven't yet tried the panini or salads or pizza.

I think that the food on offer at Americana could be stronger, but with Palate a few blocks south, who cares!

Jun 12, 2008
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

[Review] comme Ça - A Taste of Paris in L.A.

um, neither. As I said in my post above, it is on the current specials menu (not the tasting menu) and is one of the special appetizers. But it is far too much food to be truly considered an appetizer, so you can easily order it as your entree.

Nov 13, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

[Review] comme Ça - A Taste of Paris in L.A.

While I enjoyed the duck confit at Comme Ca, I don't believe it holds a candle to the confit currently on the specials menu at Grace, which is labelled "cassoulet" and is misleadingly classified as an appetizer. In fact, it is an enormous and delicious duck leg/thigh over a bed of appaloosa beans/pork/bacon/curly endive - just delicous and a very rich meal for $19.

Nov 12, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

On Jury Duty downtown, need recs

Judging by your handle, perhaps you would enjoy Pitfire Pizza Co., on the Corner of 2nd and Spring (or is it Main?). Good salads, pizzas etc. They may even have a beer and wine license by now, which if I were a juror, I would surely want.

Oct 26, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Ça Va

This too is not a full review, which would be premature. I enjoyed dinner at Comme Ca on Saturday night. It showed promise and already had a few strong points.

First, of course, its menu is one of the few totally classic bistro/brasserie menus in LA. So it's a niche in need of filling.

Second, I found the bartending and the cheese offering both superb. When I ordered a St. Germain 75 and they didn't yet have the requisite liqueur, the bartender offered to whip me up something in a similar conceptual vein, and did himself pround with an Old Cuban, which was fantastic and fittingly autumnal/wintery. Likewise, the cheese lady picked three based on our stated preference for goat/sheep and they were all superb.

The entrees were better than the starters, at this outing. My wife's salmon with gnocchi parisienne was excellent, and my duck confit with spetzl and red cabbage was very good as well. My crab and celery root salad was a little too one dimensional, and my wife's sepia provencal was a flawed concept, because the overabundant tomato sauce was more like tomato jam - far too intensely flavored and sweet for the delicately flavored sepia, although it would have been lovely with meatball or spicy italian sausage or something way more robust. I hope they serously rework the sepia and tweak the crab salad.

The wines on offer were decent, although I was a bit disappointed after reading some time ago that they were thinking of focusing the reds by the glass on Southwest France and French and California pinot noir, to see no reds from the Southwest.

There were a few service issues, but they were remedied with aplomb and a complimentary treat was sent over to make amends.

With a little work in the kitchen and on the service, I think the concept and price point are good, and I hope Comme Ca excels.

Oct 24, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Ça Va

I didn't notice the seat once in it. Woolsey, do you have either a gigantic or a superbony ass? I'm trying to understand why you found so uncomfortable the seemingly same seat that I sat in Saturday night.

Oct 24, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Grace or AOC or Angelini Osteria

IF, and only if, your best friends are foodies and you will all be able to enjoy sharing the many tastes that AOC offers, then AOC is great. The nature of the small plates concept however, means that the meal will be more staggered with much more frequent interruptions for ordering the next round of whatever, etc.

But if the dinner is "important" in the sense that you want to have serious conversation with fewer interuptions,etc., then I would go to Grace.

I love Angelini, but it can be very loud with some much going on in such a small space.

Oct 11, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Great Medium Rare Burger in Glendale, Pasadena, or Burbank

Smitty's smokehouse burger is excellent.

Sep 19, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Coming to LA/Pasadena (mainly Pasadena), could use some recs

Buckethead,

Sorry you didn't have better luck at Song. The bottom line is that to sample the best of what LA has to offer foodwise, you can't stay in Pasadena. For the higher end, you have to generally go west of Griffith Park and the Hollywood Hills and for the ethnic you have to head for various far flung enclaves.

Aug 28, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

New Mex food place in Pasadena?

Honestly, I was a little disappointed with the red and the green at the Shed. My personal conclusion is that for a real chile head, you have to make your own, and NM style stuff is so easy, there's no reason not to.

Aug 22, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

ISO Hanger or Flatiron Steak from a Meat Cutter

The 2 best hanger steaks in LA that I have had are at Bin 8945 and Osteria Mozza (the tagliatta).

Aug 21, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Chef/Foodie brother coming to visit. Providence? Craft? Cut?

Spago, Grace or Providence, in that order, for the full high end experience. Hatfields is great, but a different kind of place.

Aug 17, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

LaTerza better than O'Mozza

Which Il Fornaio? I have always thought Pasadena was the strongest of the bunch when it came to the kitchen's execution.

Aug 17, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Going to Osteria Mozza

The orricheiette was not to be missed. The tagliatta was among the steaks I have had in LA (it's a hanger steak).

Aug 14, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Coming to LA/Pasadena (mainly Pasadena), could use some recs

For lunch:

Saladang Song on Fair Oaks Ave. - great outdoor patio and wonderful Thai food with a menu that goes beyond most standard Thai fare. A short walk from the Sheraton.

For dinner:

Vertical on Raymond St. in Old Town Pasadena. Great wine selection, nice interior, very tasty menu of charcuterie, small plates and delicious entrees. You could walk to it from the Sheraton or take their shuttle.

If you're driving from Pasadena to Sunland (or back) on the 210, you'll pass through La Canada Flintridge, which is home to Los Gringos Locos. There are better, more authentic mexican places nearby, buy none that have margaritas or guacamole as good as the Gringo. They make it tableside to order. My recommendation is no onions and ask for it spicy. Stop in, get an order of guac, and a double margarita on the rocks.

Aug 14, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Opening night at Osteria Mozza

That's probably because Campanile isn't doing Italian. It's more appropriately classified, IMHO, as a rustic Italian/Mediterranean inspired Californian restaurant.

Jul 25, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

walk-in to mozza??

Walk ins to the Osteria are not too bad yet, if you arrive by 7 and if you are only a party of one or two. At 8 p.m., I think you should expect a 30-45 minute wait. The bar area is comfortable, but that can be a long time to stand. If you are more than 2 people, I wouldn't bother unless you go very early or very late, because slots of 3 or 4 don't open up with any frequency.

Jul 19, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

New, old-school drinks menu at Chateau Marmont

There is a variation on the French 75, the St. Germain 75, which adds an elderberry flower liqueur to the mix, which I had at the Modern in NYC and which was fantastic and refreshing. You might see if they'll mix that for you next time at Marmont and compare it to the traditional.

Jul 19, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Osteria Mozza Menu??

Look, I like Angeli, but compare the space and service to Osteria Mozza, compare the pizza to Pizzeria Mozza, compare the pastas and entrees to Osteria Mozza, compare the winelist at either Mozz, and I think most reasonable people would agree that Angeli simply isn't operating at the same level.

Also, it's really Nancy Silverton's restaurant, and every time I have eaten at either the pizzeria or the osteria, for lunch or for dinner, she has been working the line.

Jul 19, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Opening night at Osteria Mozza

We ate the same night that you did, and even though it was only the 2nd night of officially being open, I have to say, I felt the food was equal to Angelini and the overall experience because of the nicer and less cramped surroundings was a little better than Angelini. I also felt the food was better than what I have had at Babbo.

We had the mussels (delicious) and the red endive and fennel salad (lovely, great lemon/date/anchovy dressing) and split the orrichiette with the sausage, chard, chile and breadcrumbs (one of the top 5 pastas I have had in my life, up there with Angelini's Bombalotti, Delfina's spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce and basil and Sfoglia's spaghetti carbonara). For mains, we got the Tagliata (grilled hangar steak with arugula and shaved parm - unbelievably good), the Lamb Chops (with fregola, not couscous) and the braised short ribs with polent. Only the short ribs were disappointing. We split two desserts, and with a Quartino, 2 cocktails, a bottle of wine, tax and tip, the whole thing was $300 for 3 people.

Jul 18, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Osteria Mozza Menu??

Is that an expression of surprise/shock (i.e. you think they are too high) or suprise/delight (i.e. you think it looks like a bargain)?

FWIW, we ate there Saturday night and everything was excellent, with two items, the Orrichiette/Sausage/Chard and the Tagliata (sp? its the steak with the arugula and parmasean) blowing the doors off. As good as a great night at Angelini, better IMHO than Babbo.

Jul 18, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Pho and banh mi in Montrose... no, not a hoax.

Well, on the same few blocks of Honolulu is Zen Asian Bistro, doing so so versions of chinese, thai and vietnamese dishes, and a sushi place, and Ra Crescenta and Ra Canrada are both quite close, so one can't be TOTALLY suprised by the asian restaurant in Montrose anymore. I concur the Pho is decent but not anything special.

Jul 12, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Those Elusive French Lentils - Where In SoCal?

Every Bristol Farms has both the French Green Lentils and the Beluga Lentils (smaller, black, better for salads) packaged by Zurson in the dried bean section. Some Whole Foods should have one of those two varieties, both of which are far better than the tastless mush common brown lentils.

Jul 09, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Hunting for Harissa

Whole Foods has it as well, usually in the section with bruschetta toppings, pickled peppers etc.

Jun 14, 2007
DonnyMac in Los Angeles Area

Dress code help

I ate at Bouley last week and wore no jacket. Other dinner guests were in jeans, so if they said that, they're certainly not enforcing it.

Jun 12, 2007
DonnyMac in Manhattan

Never been to NYC...would love recs (inc. places w/no reservations needed, favorite casual dining that locals frequent, cheap eats, a few places to splurge)

Second the Bar Room at the Modern.

Jun 11, 2007
DonnyMac in Manhattan

Never been to NYC...would love recs (inc. places w/no reservations needed, favorite casual dining that locals frequent, cheap eats, a few places to splurge)

If you are staying in Soho, the consider trying to get dinner reservations at either Babbo (call exactly a month before) or if you can't get Babbo, Il Buco. Both will likely set you back about $150 for dinner for 2. Alternatively, for Italian, head WAY Uptown to Sfoglia - but call immediately, they take reservations 60 days in advance.

One day for lunch you should go to 'ino - inexpensive but fantastic panini and wine bar. Nothing like it in SF (or LA). It's in the Village, just a couple of blocks West of Soho.

My favorite place for dinner in NYC has been The Bar Room at the Modern - last Thursday night it was fantastic. Depending how much you care to eat/drink, you could get out for as little at $120 or as much as $250 for the two of you.

Shopping in Soho/Nolita is pretty good. You may want to get a Zagat shopping guide.

Jun 11, 2007
DonnyMac in Manhattan