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Girls Weekend Wine Etiquette

I've been in similar group situations before, and my solution is . . . bring and drink cheap wine for one weekend. it's the best way to not feel resentful or p*** off other people. I mean there's cheap and then there's cheap. I'm not talking about 2 buck chuck, but there are plenty of drinkable wines in the $10-$15 range. (There are also more passive/aggressive options that I have availed myself of, like if the group is mostly red wine drinkers, bring a decent white or rose that you'll be more likely to actually get to drink.)

about 11 hours ago
cookie monster in Wine

small dining room for intimate wedding reception?

Have you checked with Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis? They have a private room but I don't know the capacity. Food and atmosphere are excellent.

Bring your shopping cart back where it belongs, please!

I've been watching this thread from the sidelines, but I have to share my personal "oops, wrong car" experience (yes, completely off the topic of wayward shopping carts which I'm still staying away from). A few years ago I was out Christmas shopping and my bags were getting heavy so I decided to take them out to my car and then continue shopping. Walked across the parking lot to my fairly common small SUV, pushed the unlock button on the remote, and opened the rear gate. I was puzzled to see some non-perishable grocery items (bottled water, laundry detergent) that I didn't recall leaving back there. Then I was startled to see a friendly brown dog pop his head up from the back seat. At that point I realized this was not my car and shut the gate quickly before I got accused of attempted grand theft auto or dognapping. My car was parked two spaces away. I'm still not sure whether my remote had actually opened the other car or the owner left it unlocked.

Which ice cream sandwich do you recommend?

We had some recently that I'm pretty sure were purchased at Ralph's in Santa Monica.

Additional charges that seem unjustified that the establishment might think twice about

In general I don't have an issue with charging for extras as long as it's disclosed, especially when you're talking about a $10 meal at a deli or diner. The one that does get me is the steakhouses that charge an extra $2-3 for a sauce or rub with your $50 a la carte steak.

Host gifts for challenging hosts

Second the Penzy's spice selection suggestion. My other fallback is some very high-end olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar.

Mar 23, 2015
cookie monster in Not About Food

Chocolate Cake with Whipped Fudge Filling and Chocolate Buttercream

Mar 20, 2015
cookie monster in Recipes

Restaurant Recommendations Midtown West

I just stayed there last week! Only dinner in the area was at the Bar Room at the Modern - definitely memorable but definitely not cozy. Might be a good place to go for a drink though. Otherwise I second Betony.

Mar 18, 2015
cookie monster in Manhattan

Casual dinner tomorrow night 3/15 - Westside but not too far west, and some other requirements

Sure, just didn't have time last night. And I will say up front that (a) I don't see a menu online so I'm going from memory, and (b) for the most part we stuck to pretty mainstream dishes. For starters we shared the When Tigers Cry (beef dish - that name I remember) and Golden Baskets (? - little fried baskets that you fill with a ground chicken and vegetable mixture). Loved the former; latter was fun to eat but not particularly interesting. Drunken Noodles and Pad Thai were both excellent versions of popular dishes. Star of the meal was a special that I didn't eat (not a seafood lover) - called something like Clay Pot Prawns. Came to the table in a covered clay pot (duh) that the waiter opened with a flourish and a swirl of steam. Bed of vegetables topped with 3, might even have been 4, big prawns and a tangle of thin rice noodles, and came with some sort of green sauce. My friends loved that one. At $25 it was more than 2x the price of anything else we ordered, but it seemed like a bargain compared to the prices I've seen for prawn dishes elsewhere.

Rehersal dinner in Santa Monica area

Whaddayaknow? I guess I can't read before 8am.

Rehersal dinner in Santa Monica area

Those are all great suggestions. The patio at Wilshire is indeed very pretty. I've been to a couple private parties there and they did an excellent job, but I haven't eaten there since their latest change of chefs.

Rehersal dinner in Santa Monica area

How many people?

Casual dinner tomorrow night 3/15 - Westside but not too far west, and some other requirements

To report back, we ended up at Ayara Thai in Westchester and it worked out very well. Thanks again for all the suggestions.

Casual dinner tomorrow night 3/15 - Westside but not too far west, and some other requirements

Thanks everyone for the ideas so far. Trying to stay away from Venice / MDR because the traffic on Lincoln will no doubt be horrible with all the beachgoers trying to get home. i know on summer Sunday evenings it can take me half an hour just to get out of Venice. Hoping that it'll be late enough and we'll be far enough south to avoid the worst of the marathon traffic, but that is another concern. Fathers Office in CC Is 21+, correct? I'm not sure how old my friend's son is. And steering them toward the 105 might indeed be a better option.

Casual dinner tomorrow night 3/15 - Westside but not too far west, and some other requirements

Friend of mine from NYC is flying into LAX tomorrow with his college age son, and I plan to meet them for an early-ish dinner before they drive out to Palm Springs. Ordinarily I would just have them come to my neighborhood (Venice beach), but I know that with this weather traffic and parking will be horrible, and I don't want to inflict that on them in an unfamiliar area after they've spent six hours on a plane. I'm thinking West LA or Culver City might work - not too far from me, not too close to the beach, and easy for them to get on the 10 east afterwards. Open to cuisine, but it needs to be a place we can walk into without a reservation at 6:30 or so since I don't know exactly when they'll arrive. Mexican maybe? Seems to always go over well with visitors from the east coast.

Moist chocolatey chocolate cake recipe like a boxed mix?

Yes! It's my go-to chocolate cake recipe. And it is indeed super easy. I do however tend to use a higher quality cocoa like Scharffenberger.

Mar 03, 2015
cookie monster in Home Cooking

5 Times to Say "No Thank You" and 3 Things to Do When You Hear It — How to Be a Grownup

Same here. But then I'm also guilty of using "I'm good" on a regular basis, as shorthand for "I'm satisfied / completely taken care of/ not in need of another thing."

What's your favorite cake?

Is this different from an Italian cream cake, which is one of my friend's favorite (and I understand a Southern recipe that has nothing to do with Italy)?

Feb 16, 2015
cookie monster in General Topics

What's your favorite cake?

Mmmmmm. I haven't made a marble cake in ages because mixing the two batters is kind of a pain, but Susiecakes, a local bakery chain, makes an outstanding one.

Feb 13, 2015
cookie monster in General Topics

What's your favorite cake?

Caramel cake.

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is a close second. Or even better, chocolate and yellow marble cake.

Feedback please - Oahu & Maui

In Honolulu I highly recommend MW Restaurant - best dinner of my visit there last November.

Here's my trip report:
Can't really speak to your Maui choices since even though I go there about twice a year, I always stay on the north shore. I don't eat fish, but I still love Mama's for the atmosphere.

Feb 11, 2015
cookie monster in Hawaii

party caterers West Los Angeles

Truett Griffin catered a cocktail party for me last year and everything was fantastic.

(I've also been a guest at one of his "Julia" dinners and it was a real treat)

Breakfasts so good you had them again for dinner

Roasted vegetables of any sort topped with a sunny side up egg for dinner; add the leftover vegetables and a little cheese to scrambled eggs the next morning.

Feb 05, 2015
cookie monster in General Topics

Sturdy post office-ready cake or tart idea

That looks great but I can't imagine it will stand up to a couple days in transit without refrigeration.

I sent chocolate chip banana bread half-way across the country last month and was told it came through the mail very well. I also second the brownie suggestion.

Jan 26, 2015
cookie monster in Home Cooking

Looking for a place to have a quick early lunch...

Lemon Moon on Olympic? Cafeteria style but not fast food.

Last Minute Recommendation - Bev Hills/WeHo Area

Dominick's is a good idea. Or maybe Lala's in WeHo?

Pat peeves as a guest at a dinner party?

Echoing a couple other posters:

No snacks / apps ready when guests arrive. I don't need anything elaborate (and in fact I'm likely to spoil my appetite for dinner if a bunch of fancy hors d'oeuvres are available) but some nuts or cheese or crudite are much appreciated, especially if we aren't going to sit down to dinner until a while after the designated start time.

Hosts pushing food - that can be very awkward for guests like me who have some strong food aversions but don't want to be be impolite. There's really no good response when a host looks at my plate of salad and bread and says "oh, you didn't get any salmon. You have to try the salmon" while adding some to my plate.

Re: pets, while I love dogs and don't mind having their slobbery bouncy selves around during the party, I'm extremely allergic to some cats. So I agree the rule should be keep the pets away from the dinner guests, unless you know them all well enough to be sure it won't be an issue.

And yes, please check on the state of the bathroom periodically. Can't tell you the number of times that I've felt like a snoop as a try to quietly open cupboards and closets, looking for a new roll of toilet paper . . .

Jan 16, 2015
cookie monster in Not About Food

Salty Cuisines: Your thought?

As I'm reading through the comments here I'm wondering about the answer to the opposite question: what cuisines aren't particularly salty? And I'm having trouble answering it, especially if we're talking about restaurant food. To echo what foodieX2 said, I find that most restaurant meals, regardless of the specific cuisine, are noticeably salty to me.

Need suggestion for a ladies club dessert

Mine too. Popular combinations include white chocolate + pistachios, pecans + coconut, and caramel + pretzels.

Jan 11, 2015
cookie monster in Home Cooking

Does a bialy always have onions?

That looks like a good read. thanks!

Jan 04, 2015
cookie monster in General Topics