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Lunch or brunch along the 405 / 5 heading from LA to San Diego?

Thanks, all! We're leaning towards Riders Club. Great suggestions!

Mar 23, 2013
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Lunch or brunch along the 405 / 5 heading from LA to San Diego?

I'm taking a road trip and am looking for a good place for lunch / brunch on Sunday.

I'm looking to stop anywhere along the way, not too far from the freeway, with the only requirement being that the food is notably delicious.

Possible stops include: Lake Forest, Laguna Woods, Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Nigel, San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point, San Clemente, and Oceanside.

(And yes, I did just trace a finger down the 405 / 5 from Long Beach to Carlsbad, and name off most of the cities near the freeway...)

Thanks!

Mar 23, 2013
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Paris, festive New Year's Day dinner?

I ordered the set menu, with the vanilla foie gras (which I really enjoyed), the original pot au feu (which I honestly didn't enjoy as much - I know it's famous at L'Avant Gout, so I think maybe I just don't really love pot au feu), and some sort of lemony cake dessert (I had originally ordered the caramelized mandarin orange dessert, but quickly changed my mind when the table next to me got theirs and I saw that it didn't look very appetizing).

Two pot au feus a day, when one is not terribly fond of pot au feu, is probably not advised.

Leely, what have you ordered and enjoyed? I'd love to know your recommendations for next time.

Jan 03, 2010
Chestnut in France

Paris, festive New Year's Day dinner?

Darn, wish I had known that before I dined at Le Cinq. Oh well - it was a lovely lunch nonetheless. And the foie gras ravioli that came with the pot au feu were divine.

Jan 03, 2010
Chestnut in France

Last-minute, last night in Paris - any hopes for raw milk cheeses and baguettes?

LOL, unfortunately this trip was all about the last-minute planning!

I just got back from my baguette-exploring adventure. Here are the highlights:

- Philippe Gosselin's store near the Louvre was open until 8 tonight. Shortly after I posted the original message, I hopped in a cab and sped off. Cabbie got slightly lost, and I stepped in the door of the bakery about 10 minutes before closing, right after which one of the sales assistants locked the door behind me. Walked out with three baguettes ancienne.
Philippe Gosselin, 125 rue St-Honore, 75001 Paris; Tel: 145 080 359; open Sunday to Friday (closed Saturday) from 7:00 am to 8:00pm

- After that, I decided to explore the Marais to see if any charcuterie/fromagerie stores would still be open. No such luck. But I did discover a market (something ending with -prix), bought the least questionable dry sausage and pont-l'eveque I could find, and headed home to the 15th.

Thanks for the recommendation, John! I will have to try Astier next time.

Jan 03, 2010
Chestnut in France

Last-minute, last night in Paris - any hopes for raw milk cheeses and baguettes?

After an exhausting last day running errands and trying to eat as many sweets as possible (Jacques Genin's shop was definitely a highlight), I'm now realizing that I never got to eat good baguettes or stinky and/or raw milk cheeses. Any suggestions on what I could do at this hour? Thanks so much.

Jan 03, 2010
Chestnut in France

Paris, festive New Year's Day dinner?

I only made it to Le Cinq and L'Avant Gout, and even that was too much for me. The Le Cinq lunch (we opted for the 3 courses) was 78 euros and a great deal - service was impeccable yet fun, and the food was outstanding. The only dish I would say I didn't totally love was the main course of beef pot au feu, which was a little too light for my taste.

Today's food goals: L'As du Fallafel, Jacques Genin, Pierre Herme, Gerard Mulot, Poilane (I'm leaving tomorrow, so trying to squeeze everything in). This will be preceded by museums. Wish me luck! :) And thanks again to all for your suggestions!

Jan 02, 2010
Chestnut in France

Paris, festive New Year's Day dinner?

Thanks you, souphie, John, and trav! We were only able to call La Fontaine de Mars and Josephine on 12/31 - unfortunately, both were closed for New Year's day. We ended up going to Au Pied de Cochon, which was, as expected, quite mediocre, with service the same level of mediocrity. Tomorrow, I hope will be a better food day: we're aiming for Poilane in the 15th arr. for breakfast bread, Le Cinq for lunch, Jacques Genin for chocolates, and L'Avant Gout for dinner.

Jan 01, 2010
Chestnut in France

Paris, festive New Year's Day dinner?

I've researched the posts on this board re: Christmas and New Year's. We are a group of four Americans looking for a festive place to have dinner on New Year's day. I called Chez Denise and a couple of other brasseries from John Talbott's exhaustive list, but thus far I have not found any places which will be open on 1/1. Any suggestions for festive bistros/brasseries with great food that will be open on NYD for dinner? If not, we will probably try Au Pied du Cochon for dinner...thanks in advance!

Dec 30, 2009
Chestnut in France

Where to buy De Cecco in LA?

I've only been to the Whole Foods in BH, and I couldn't find it there. But I'll check Ralph's and Vons/Pavilions. Thanks all!

Aug 27, 2008
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Where to buy De Cecco in LA?

I can't find De Cecco pasta anywhere! I went to Whole Foods, Surfas...where can I find this elusive brand? I'm specifically looking for the bucatini. Westside if possible. Thanks!

Aug 27, 2008
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Barcelona/Madrid from August 19 - 25 - bad idea?

Thanks, all. I've decided to go (Valencia + Barcelona), so now it'll just be a matter of planning out my meals. I'll keep you posted on my food itinerary.

Aug 04, 2008
Chestnut in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona/Madrid from August 19 - 25 - bad idea?

I'm contemplating a trip to Barcelona and Madrid. The problem is that I would have to arrive August 19 and fly out early on August 26. Thinking also about the Penedes wine region. Is this a bad idea? Is everything closed then? I saw some references to the middle two weeks of August to be the worst, so this is not encouraging. Thanks for any advice!

Jul 31, 2008
Chestnut in Spain/Portugal

Dry-Farmed Tomatoes?

Do dry-farmed tomatoes exist in LA? I'm dreaming of Dirty Girl Farms' Early Girl tomatoes...

Jul 23, 2008
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Business dinner for 10, with wine and fun atmosphere, on Westside

I'm trying to plan a business dinner for 10, for a weekday. Here are the requirements:

1) Not too staid, formal or fussy
2) A fancy yet fun atmosphere
3) Serves good wine - we have wine snobs in our group
4) Excellent food
5) Can seat us around 7:30/8:00 pm

My top choice was A.O.C., which has the wine requirement, the great food requirement, the fun atmosphere requirement, and the ability-to-seat-a-large party requirement. Unfortunately, I think they only have a table open at 9 on the day I want to hold the dinner, which is way too late for us.

Here are the other restaurants I was looking at:
- Tasca (but poss party of 8 only; also, it sounds really tiny)
- La Cachette
- Jar
- Providence
- Lucques
- Grace
- Spago

Any comments or suggestions? Thanks!

Jun 10, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Business Dinner, < $60 pp, Westside?

Thank you - I'll check those out!

Mar 26, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Business Dinner, < $60 pp, Westside?

Great questions.

1) Thursday - but I don't think we'll need a private room

2) Yes, the $60 includes all beverages.

Thanks!

Mar 26, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Business Dinner, < $60 pp, Westside?

I'm looking for the best place to have a business dinner for about 15 people. Requirements:

1) Has a set menu or can put together a set menu for up to $60 per person, tax & tip inclusive;

2) No raw fish (so sushi joints would be out);

3) Within close driving distance of Beverly Hills.

Thanks!

Mar 26, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

What makes LA a foodie city? Tell Me

Fair enough. And maybe my viewpoint is skewed because I have to regularly dine on the Westside, but...I would argue that the rise and fall in popularity of such things as "artisanal cupcakes" and Pinkberry (even though I like Pinkberry) indicates to me an LA food culture (at least on the Westside) which is built on hype and trends and which celebrity is eating what, not necessarily on the quality of the food.

I will say that sushi in LA kicks SF's ass.

But the biggest thing that LA lacks, in my mind? What troubles me the most is that I can think of no great neighborhood bakery, a la Acme, Tartine, or Cheeseboard, or even Semifreddis. I cannot think of a single place where I can get an honest loaf of sourdough or levain, or a great baguette, without pretention. I don't care or want a Double-Chocolate Cherry Bread, or a Rosemary Sourdough Cheese-and-Jalapeno filled loaf. I need, and have not been able to find, an honest loaf of simple bread, that will stand on its own. (And I'm saying this with Breadbar in mind - the quality is so poor and the prices so high that there's just no comparison; La Brea Bakery's quality has gone so far down that the sour baguettes are just laughable.)

Feb 26, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

What makes LA a foodie city? Tell Me

Ok, I agree that there's a lot of great food in the SGV, but if you're pulling out the SGV card, couldn't travelfoodie also point to San Jose/the South Bay in general for great Asian food? I can also think of some wonderful places in SF (Richmond area, to be specific) and Oakland Chinatown.

Not to digress too much, but I think my point is that just as most SF residents would hesitate at driving all the way to the South Bay for great Asian food, residents of the city of LA (like me) may balk at regularly driving all the way to the SGV for great Asian food. So unfortunately, the reality is that most nights I'm stuck eating mediocre Westside food.

Feb 25, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

What makes LA a foodie city? Tell Me

Diddy Riese is fun, but I wouldn't say it's a must-eat foodie destination. The ice cream is Dreyer's and the cookies are tooth-numbingly sweet.

Feb 25, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Restaurants on Robertson?

Living very close to Robertson, I have only this to say:

Avoid Al Gelato. Cute litte neighborhood joint with sub-par pasta (mushy noodles in sweet red sauce) and really, really mediocre gelato.

Feb 25, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

What makes LA a foodie city? Tell Me

Speaking specifically of the Westside, which is generally a culinary wasteland - Sawtelle Blvd. (the area roughly between, say, Olympic and Santa Monica Blvd.) is the reason why L.A. is a foodie city. Without Sawtelle, most of the Westside's culinary bounty would be gone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sawtelle...

I'm partial to Kiriko (great lunch specials for sushi, and there's wonderful homemade ice cream for dessert - in great combinations like ginger+brown sugar). Cap off a belly-busting trip to Kirko with a visit to the infamous Pinkberry (tart yogurt; makes Korean and Chinese expats nostalgic because it tastes eerily similar to the pink yogurt drink from childhood), in the same shopping complex.

http://www.kirikosushi.com/

The Westside also has a huge number of really great breakfast/brunch places (for all those hungover celebs, I wonder?). John O'Groats near/in Century City is excellent, as is Hugo's Restaurant in West Hollywood (try the Pasta Mama at Hugos - with a pitcher of mimosas and a few friends to share, I can't think of a better way to spend a lazy weekday or weekend).

John O' Groats
10516 W Pico Blvd (Cross Street: Patricia Avenue
)Los Angeles, CA 90064-2320
(310) 204-0692

Hugo's
8401 Santa Monica Blvd (Cross Street: Orlando Avenue)
West Hollywood, CA 90069-4209
(323) 654-3993

Oh - I just thought of something else that LA has - world-class pastrami (not to be found in SF or its environs) - at Langer's, near MacArthur Park in Downtown L.A. It's a scary area - I'm not gonna lie. But Langer's pastrami is regularly compared to the pastrami at Katz's Deli in NYC - for me, both are gold standards, albeit quite different (as I remember, Katz's pastrami was more buttery-soft; Langer's is chewier).

http://www.langersdeli.com/

Feb 25, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Valentine's Day Delivery HELP NEEDED!

Interesting...I'll have to check that out! Thanks!

Feb 13, 2007
Chestnut in Washington DC & Baltimore

Valentine's Day Delivery HELP NEEDED!

I live in California. Boyfriend lives in DC. I've completely forgotten about Valentine's Day until today, and I want to get something unique/tasty delivered to his office in DC. Are there any good bakeries that would deliver something cute/embarrassing to his office (in NW)? I already checked the website for Cakelove (which I don't really even like, but that's beside the point), and it appears that they would charge $18+ for delivery (!!). I'm looking to stay about under $40 or so. Thanks!

Feb 12, 2007
Chestnut in Washington DC & Baltimore

Good delivery on West Side...

I have to say - one of the worst meals of my life was had at Spark. Salad with tasteless dressing, and really, I don't remember anything else I had because it was so disgusting. Granted, it was a work banquet, but I have had better meals at cheap catered weddings with rubber chicken (and that's saying a LOT). Please, please, do not go there and throw away your money!

Feb 07, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Expense account lunch - today - Westside - recs please!

The above title about sums it up. Spago's out (too mediocre), Lucques (ehhh), and I think Matsuhisa might be as well (excellent prepared dishes, but I don't think it was open yesterday - so it might not be today either?). We want to spend about $50 a head, not including tax/tip.

Suggestions? Thanks.

Jan 03, 2007
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Hide Sushi and AL Gelato..THANK YOU!

I've eaten at both Hide and Al Gelato recently on the recommendations of Chowhound.

Hide:
Good fish, not the best I've ever had (certainly not Kiriko quality, let's say), but a good value nonetheless. The chirashi (a bowl of 6 slabs of fish, including salmon, tuna and octopus, topping shredded egg and nori over rice) is probably one of best lunch deals on the westside at only $10. I thought their tamago was especially tasty. Unagi was a disappointment. Would return again, if only for the chirashi deal.

Al Gelato:
I went because of the various raves on the board. First of all, the much-touted red sauce left me puzzled. Why are there so many 'hounds who are a fan of this sauce? It was overly sweet and not very nuanced; just a simple, bland red sauce topping rigatoni that was overcooked and mushy. I was very disappointed. My friends ordered pizza, which was too cheesy, doughy and underdone, and tasted not much different from something I could get at CPK.

I had high hopes for the gelato, but even that was a disappointment. I tasted the pumpkin, creme brulee, and lemon vanilla. The creme brulee tasted "off," like it was too watery or smokey, if that makes any sense. The lemon vanilla tasted like it had too much air whipped into it. The pumpkin was delicious, but had the oddest gummy texture - I would lift my spoon to my mouth but see trails of gelato waving around in the air, like little wayward arms. Eating the pumpkin gelato was a similarly strange experience, as I had to literally chew my way through the gummy gelato. After having eaten my way through the best gelaterias in Florence and Rome, I don't think I could ever consider Al Gelato's "gelato" to be real gelato. I'm disappointed - I had high hopes for finding a nice neighborhood place, but I think I'll just have to keep looking around for a local authentic Italian joint.

Nov 25, 2006
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Darling Clementine - An SF Hound Reports

Morton, it's very good to see a familiar face on the LA board! I've been tremendously homesick for Acme, Cheese Board, and Gregoire. It's hard to find an honest loaf of bread in this town.

However, I work near Clementine - and honestly, I have to say that I haven't been tremendously impressed with what I've had. We get catered sandwiches from Clementine once in a while. As a general matter, I find them to be overwhelmingly mayonnaisey and greasy.

I will try the roast beef again, now that you've mentioned it. And the hollandaise sounds simply divine...

Nov 21, 2006
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area

Great sushi + udon, for lunch, on the Westside?

I'm looking for great sushi (i.e., excellent nigiri) at an affordable price (like Kiriko, Sasabune, Hide). However, a member of our lunch group is vegetarian and wants some udon instead. Is there a place on Sawtelle or near Santa Monica/Century City that can meet all our requirements? Thanks!

Nov 21, 2006
Chestnut in Los Angeles Area