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Desert for July 4th Party?

It would help to know your geographical constraints (if any) and budget. Since you're working with kids, are there any allergies?

Jul 03, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

La Cienega

Also in the neighborhood...Petrossian. I find good caviar always interesting.

Jul 02, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Halfway spot between Hollywood and Anaheim (with tweens and teens)

My pleasure...please report back regarding the dining options you choose.

Jul 02, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Halfway spot between Hollywood and Anaheim (with tweens and teens)

Halfway between those two cities puts you in the Downey/Norwalk/Cerritos/Santa Fe Springs/La Mirada neighborhood. Not a hot bed for a whole lot of excitement, but lots of chains and a few fun places. Not traditionally places that I would go out of my way to try (likely because I live in the area), but some are really really good...here goes:

Downey
Porto's Bakery - Probably the best Cuban bakery in Southern California. Sandwiches (cubano and medianoche) and pastries are really really good.
Across the street from Porto's is a food court-like area where there's a decent sushi place, a Burger Grill City/Burger City Grill (?), Pacific Fish Company, and Hummus Factory. There are a few super casual chains in the complex, too.
Lock & Key Social Drinkery - The adults will have fun because the drinks and snacks are really good, but not sure that kids will enjoy it.

Norwalk
Golf N Stuff - Entertainment for the kids. Mini golf, some rides, arcade...but not in pristine condition. We let our kids play, and then we go eat somewhere else. Not far from the aforementioned Downey locations.
Los Compadres - Easily my favorite go-to Mexican joint where the food reminds me of food my friends' grandmas could make. The bar here is good, too...margaritas on the rocks and the tamarita.
Renu Nakorn - Northern Thai specialties. The regular Thai offerings are good, but the Northern Thai options are really good and really spicy. I always enjoy the larb because I can't handle that Thai heat.

Cerritos
It's really chain city. Name a chain, and it's likely in Cerritos. The Gen Korean BBQ is always packed, but it's not my favorite KBBQ place.
La Tavolata - House made pasta made fresh daily. I'm a fan. Super reasonable prices, too...a lot of options being in the $13 range, and it's a lot of food. The house pink sauce is really good, as is the smoked chicken tortellini.

La Mirada
Mario's - Really good Peruvian food. Get the lomo saltado and slather it with the green aji sauce. It's the only thing I ever order...and the ceviche. Service is friendly.
Splash! Aquatics Center - Cool water park for the kids with Olympic-sized pools. Pretty clean, but they close early. The tween would like it, not too sure about the teens. Close proximity to Mario's.

Hope this helps.

North OC Farmer's Markets

It might cost you a pretty penny, but I think ST Patisserie in Costa Mesa will do it for you as a custom order.

Jul 01, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area
1

Cold soup for summer cocktail party?

Jose Andres has a lovely gazpacho recipe that I use. To make it a little special, I grill some shrimp to garnish the cup/bowl/whatever that I serve it in. The gazpacho alone is terrific. Super refreshing and perfect for the summer.

http://www.delish.com/cooking/a1114/j...

Jul 01, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking

Japanese restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga (Inland Empire)

This actually belongs on the LA board. If you search Rancho Cucamonga, you should get a few hits.
I used to live in the area, and for some reason, there were a ton of Japanese restaurants in the Upland/Claremont/Rancho area. However, they were primarily sushi places that also served Japanese food. I used to only eat sushi when I lived there but I remember the bento boxes at Kazama in Claremont being good. The teriyaki at Sho in Upland used to be good, but they changed owners and were more sushi-focused. There was a teppanyaki place in the same plaza as Dalia's pizza in Upland across the street from the Von's on Foothill and Euclid that's been there for ages with the same owners...the teppan grill offerings were better than Mora down the street.
For more variety, you're better off going to downtown L.A. for Little Tokyo.

Jun 30, 2015
attran99 in California

Restaurant suggestions in Mendocino and Fort Bragg area?

My husband and I recently were in the Fort Bragg area...wish I could have seen this post while we were there.
We had a late lunch at Silver's by the Wharf. The Perri Frito was good...local nightfish battered and fried. The fish in the fish and chips are also locally caught and was good. Chips were garlic fries. The coastal salad was nice...Bibb lettuce, roasted beets, Feta cheese, some sort of tangy house dressing. Not a bad meal, but not blow your mind good either.

Jun 30, 2015
attran99 in California

Restaurant Requests

I think Sage has a terrific seasonal menu.

Jun 30, 2015
attran99 in Las Vegas

Choza 96 - Peruvian / Latin American Fusion in Pasadena?

I used to go when it was Choza Mama. They used to make great saltados (sautes with french fries, red onion, and tomatoes). My favorite being the lomo (beef) saltado. It was great with the green aji sauce (slightly spicy green pepper sauce)...the red was way too spicy for me.
Peruvian food and a cross between Chinese food and Latin food. Lots of sautes/stir fries in sauces. They also so fried rices and noodle dishes using spaghetti noodles. The saltados are pretty standard, I think. I'm by no mean an expert, but I do like a good saltado...and green aji sauce.

Jun 30, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area
1

Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare remains an uncelebrated gem with seafood worth celebrating.

I love this place...the seafood and service is divine. It's become our go-to celebratory dinner if we're in town for a big occasion.

Jun 29, 2015
attran99 in Las Vegas

Suggestions for out of towners

Also keep in mind where you're coming from. When I went to NYC last month, I tried to avoid offerings of Asian and Mexican food because we do it here so much better (though I was sometimes overidden by my traveling companions). It's always exciting to try something you can't get in your own hometown.
I think the trend in L.A. is moving to shareable plates, so it should be pretty easy for your group to graze and move from place to place so you can try even more things.
The lists everyone's offered up are all very good, and you can't go wrong.

Jun 29, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area
1

Two Best AVAs for Napa/Sonoma Trip (Group with Varied Palates)

I've just come back from a trip myself, and used a lot of helpful tips found on this board.
The suggestion for a sparkling house is great. That can usually appease everyone in a diverse group. Keep in mind that Schramsberg is not cheap at $60 per person. Even though the tour is cool, not everyone will be game to pay up. I liked the Chandon tour, and it was nice to sit on the terrace at Domaine Carneros while snacking and sipping champagne.
In the Sonoma area, we just joined the club at Sojourn Cellars. Really lovely Pinot Noirs and superb Cabs. I'm a huge fan of Adastra as well. They have a beautiful property and the wines are delicious.
In the Napa area, there are lots of options. I rather like things north of St. Helena. We did tastings at Meander Cellars (great Sauvignon Blanc), Amici Cellars (Pinot Noir and Cab), and Deligadillo Cellars this week and they were all spectacular. I love Cabs and Delgadillo has a special place in our personal reserve at home.

Advice re Napa area 2 day itinerary (2 dinners, 2 lunches)

I just came back from our trip to Napa, and have some recs for you.
We had a great dinner at Oenotri in downtown Napa...it was walking distance from our B&B. Wood oven pizzas are fantastic and they make both their own salume and pasta. We had the margarita with pancetta...the crust was crisp and had great char from the wood oven...really really good. The salume platter also very good. The pasta was fresh, al dente and came with a pork ragu that was a little salty, but we had it with a side of braised greens that balanced it well.
For wineries...it depends on what you all like to drink. I'm a fan of small wineries that produce about 300 cases or less per year.
You'll have fun at Grace's Table...it's a bit tight in there, but the food is good. The skillet cornbread is fun, but I'm not a fan of the lavender honey butter (my palate thinks lavender tastes like soap). We went there for dinner so not sure what the brunch menu is like.
Hope you have a fantastic time.

Carneros (Napa) Tasting and Snacking Tips

We had a great time...some hiccups along the way, but an overall great time.
Sojourn is really a gem. Loved their Pinot Noirs and Cabs so much that we joined their club. Kristie did a wonderful job guiding us through the portfolio, how/where all the fruit is sourced, and even brought out some extras to share. We had one cab that was briny like olives...there was so many interesting nuances to the wine (it was either the Georges III or something in the Petaluma Gap area).
We ordered a quick lunch to go from Sonoma's best. Simple caprese panini and a chicken pesto panini...both were really good.
Drove over to Donum Estate...and that's where things took a turn. I had made our appointment with Shannon, the Director of Marketing, about 2 months ago. We showed up and found one person running around their office. I'll never forget the look of horror on Maggie's face when she realized that we had an appointment, and she had her hands full with a group of potential Chinese investors who were there for a complete tour and tasting/paring experience. It quickly became obvious to us that we wouldn't be learning anything about Donum that day...nor the rest of our trip as we were booked for events. Maggie was nice enough to send us home with a bottle of 2012 Russian River Reserve Pinot Noir so we wouldn't leave without a chance to try an offering. I just had it shipped home...haven't had a chance to try it. I'm a little put off by the lack of experience.
diRosa was just lovely. A nice change of pace for the day. The grounds were so nice, and it was great to see some art. The weather was great.
We cancelled on Adastra because we had gone to the member picnic the day before and ordered quite a bit of wine to take home with us. They cracked open reserves from 2005 and 2009 to compare to the 2012s. It was a lot of fun
Dinner that night was at Oenotri in downtown Napa where we had delicious wood-oven cooked pizza, homemade corkscrew pasta with pork ragu, braised greens (which paired with the pork ragu well because the sauce was a bit salty), housemade salume, and a refreshing strawberry granita.

Sawtelle help

The oxtail poutine garnished with fried egg is really good at Bachi Burger. My husband loves the Banh Mi burger, while I think it's just okay...not something I crave...and not enough banh mi-esque enough for me.

Jun 10, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

BRUNCH/LUNCH FOR SIX in DTLA before a visit to the Natural History Museum

Chichen Itza at Mercado de Paloma? It's more like a food court but the conchinta pibil is excellent. If you catch it early enough, it's not too crowded and not noisy.

Jun 06, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Napa Sparkling gift ideas

Thanks for all of your thoughtful advice. I decided to send J. Schram's 2007 vintage to him at the restaurant (I was worried about temperatures damaging the sparkler, so felt it was safer to send it to the restaurant). The chef cousin was really touched by the gift, and his boss, the Executive Chef, was impressed by our gift (and asked for a taste). Needless to say, mission successful!
I looked at getting Equinox, but they don't offer sales on their website.

Jun 05, 2015
attran99 in Wine
1

Favorite food items at Disneyland (ex. Club 33)?

Dole whip can also be found at any of the new liquid nitrogen ice cream shops.

Jun 04, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Favorite food items at Disneyland (ex. Club 33)?

The corn dogs don't do it for me anymore since they switched from an all beef dog to some other mystery mixture (pork and turkey, I think). I miss the meati-ness of beef.

Vienna beef dog or Italian beef

Mustard's in Los Alamitos has delicious Chicago dogs. They also have Italian beef, but I've never tried it.

Jun 04, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Salad in the 'San Fernando

Granville in Burbank and Glendale have always worked well for me. Lots of salad and non-salad options.

May 29, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

When do fresh lychees show up in Chinatown?

My aunts bought quite a bit of it in Chinatown when we were there last week.

May 27, 2015
attran99 in Manhattan

1st visit to Vegas for a concert- will I regret my choices??

Agreed...Joe's frozen is only so-so.

May 27, 2015
attran99 in Las Vegas

1st visit to Vegas for a concert- will I regret my choices??

My favorite burger in Vegas is at Burger Bar in the hallway connecting Mandalay to Luxor. Lots of options, but my favorite is fresh ground Angus patty with foie and Perigord truffle sauce. Get the Waygu patty if you really want to go all out. Amazing...delicious in ways I can't explain. Also has great boozy milkshakes.
My favorite steak in Vegas is at Charlie Palmer Steak inside the Four Seasons. No sport coat needed...a button down and khaki is just fine. The menu is fabulous. They even have a great Cut of the Week deal where you get 3 courses plus unlimited wine pairings.
Rao's is fine if that's the kind of Italian you want. My husband and I love Bartalotta at the Wynn. Italian seafood fare that's flown in almost daily from the Mediterranean. Sublime.
A great lunch would be at Milos at the Cosmo. A 3-course pre-fixe lunch will run you about $25 per person.

May 26, 2015
attran99 in Las Vegas

Napa Sparkling gift ideas

Thanks to all for your thoughtful replies! This really helps!

May 26, 2015
attran99 in Wine

Napa Sparkling gift ideas

I've had Le Reve before, and while it's nice...I'm looking for something a little more special. He recently did me a favor and I'd like to send him a nice gift of appreciation.

May 25, 2015
attran99 in Wine

Napa Sparkling gift ideas

Thanks for your thoughtful comments! Any suggestions on specific sparklers to get him would be appreciated...I've spent the past few years studying up on reds and Cabs, so I don't feel like I'm in a position to pick a nice sparkler for him. However, a LD sounds like a good idea.

May 25, 2015
attran99 in Wine

Napa Sparkling gift ideas

Headed on a trip to Napa and looking to get a gift for a distant relative who loves sparklers and is a chef at one of the finest restaurants in NYC (it's got 3 Michelin stars). Going to be near Domaine Carneros and Schramsburg next month. Any of ideas on what to get him? As far as I know he drinks well-balanced sparklers and feels that sparklers can pair well with almost any dish.
Thanks!

May 24, 2015
attran99 in Wine

NYC Girls' Trip (Mid-May)

Yes, Barbuto...auto-correct. Didn't even notice it until now. Still fabulous...we ate and drank very well thanks to you all.
Not sure what the name of the speakeasy was. We walked, and the chef cousin led the way. Since it was our first day in the city, we had no idea where we were. But the Japanese place was on the second floor of a building, so you could be right. It was packed to the brim.

May 23, 2015
attran99 in Manhattan