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josephnl's Profile

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I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

What's OG Venice?

I know that you and some others (like wsg) accept that it's perfectly fine for chefs/proprietors to inflexibly always do things only their own way, and I certainly agree that it's their prerogative to do so. Nevertheless IMHO, proprietors who are nice people will do their best to please as many customers as they reasonably can...certainly if it requires minimal effort. Refusing to leave off a garnish or accommodating some similar minor request, to me speaks of arrogance, is not how nice people behave, and simply doesn't cut it with me. I fully accept that others may differ, but that's how I feel.

about 8 hours ago
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

I totally respect your opinion. Nevertheless there are enough wonderful chef's around who prepare very good food and who are gracious hosts and who will do what they can to please their guests. I personally don't consider it unimportant that a chef is so into himself that he will not allow a minor deletion of a garnish so as to accommodate a customer's religious, allergic or other dietary requirements. I guess I'll get through life without the benefit of dining at Gjelina's (I also don't like noisy restaurants) but certainly happily acknowledge your different point of view.

(Just for fun, I thought I'd look at the reviews on Open Table, TripAdvisor and Yelp. Interestingly although most (but certainly not all) folks really like the food, there are very many complaints of rudeness, attitude and/or indifference by both the hostess and waitstaff. Employees are usually a reflection of the management. It all seems to fit.)

about 10 hours ago
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

But please pray tell, what explanation other than stupidity or simple arrogance will lead a chef to refuse to leave off a prosciutto garnish on an otherwise delicious sounding and completely vegetarian poached pear and burrata dish, or a little gem salad with grapes and blue cheese (both of which are on the online menu)? Does he or she think that his creation is such a work of art that leaving off a garnish to satisfy someone's religious or dietary requirements will destroy his or her masterpiece?

about 22 hours ago
josephnl in Los Angeles Area
1

I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

If indeed that's the case, I guess I'll never cross their threshold. Although I can fully understand and support a chef's being unwilling to so signicantly modify a dish that it's basic essence is changed, to refuse to eliminate a minor component/garnish to accommodate a customers's religious/medical/allergic or other dietary requirement is to my mind simply arrogance. I'd appreciate other CH's confirming this policy of Gjelina's, because if indeed this is the case, this is a restaurant that I would personally not wish to support.

I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

Is Gjelina one of those places that refuses any menu modifications whatsoever (such as leaving off a prosciutto crisp garnish on an otherwise vegetarian dish)?

1 day ago
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

Coffee Bean Blast ice cream + A shot of good espresso (I use Nespresso Roma) = One great affogato!

Oct 28, 2014
josephnl in Chains
2

Special occasion dinner recommendation!

Thanks so much teezeetoo for your recs. We've just returned from Boston and you were spot on! We had an absolutely wonderful special dinner at L'Espalier. Everything was perfect. They gave us a terrific table overlooking Boylston St. Both the food and service were excellent. The night before we had a casual dinner at Island Creek. It too was wonderful...pristine oysters and wonderful fish...simply prepared but great! Thanks so much for your excellent suggestions!

Oct 28, 2014
josephnl in Greater Boston Area

Proper wine service - Opening bottle away from the table?

I thought that by far the main reason for wines being "corked" was because of TCA getting into the wine from the cork, and thus screw caps essentially eliminated this problem. Although it may be possible, isn't it very uncommon for a screw capped wine, or a wine with a synthetic cork, to be "corked"?

Oct 26, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Quiet small romantic restaurant near LA Music Center

Water Grill is terribly overpriced and in no way is it either cozy or intimate!

Oct 16, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Refilling a disposable pepper or salt mill

Yes...I saw these last week in my local IKEA. For 10 bucks you can get a ceramic mill that will last forever with 4 extra spice jars. Does it make sense to refill plastic grinders when inevitably the plastic will in time disintegrate and chip and get into your food? I think not, but if others disagree, keep refilling your disposable grinders. See:
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/pro...

Oct 14, 2014
josephnl in Cookware

Restaurant with good food and good drinks for 40th birthday?

+1

Oct 14, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Restaurant with good food and good drinks for 40th birthday?

Drago Centro is doable for $50pp food only, but it very much depends on how people order. Obviously if everyone orders an appetizer, a pasta (or even a split pasta) and an expensive entree (veal chop, perhaps) it will be substantially more than $50pp. Unfortunately, this is true at many of the restaurants you are considering.

I'm not sure that I'd choose Drago for a special occasion meal…although good, I don't consider it special in any way. IMHO, although it's not downtown, Craft is much more of a special occasion place, as is Dan Tana is a quirky sort of way. Both will also push your budget however. Craft has a terrific bar with a very pleasant patio if it's not too cold. Their bar is so good, that you might not need to go downtown afterwards.

Another thought that hasn't been mentioned is Bouchon. It's definitely doable for $50pp if folks order somewhat carefully.

Oct 14, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Restaurant with good food and good drinks for 40th birthday?

Tana's is good, but for me it would be Craft...without question!!!

Best trout in LA

You will not see it on the Houston's dinner menu. It's always on the lunch menu at the Irvine Houston's and is almost always available at dinner. I like it much better than the loup de mer which seems to be a Houston's fixture!

Oct 13, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Italian Dinner-Los Angeles (Decisions?)

I've only been to Madeo's perhaps 6 or 7 times over the past few years. I have a hard time getting past the veal Milanese which is amazing. Other entrees I've had are chicken Parmesan, and some excellent but very simple fish preparations. I've typically started with either a salad or a split order of pasta. I've always had a great meat there. There's nothing new or innovative there, but everything from the terrific cracker bread to the excellent tiramisu for dessert is great. I obviously love the place. Although I often enjoy eating at bars, I've never done so at Maseo.

Oct 12, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Italian Dinner-Los Angeles (Decisions?)

What's wrong with classic food from the 60"s. Do you really think that the Italian food served by "modern" Italian restaurants is better?? I'll take a perfectly prepared classic French or Italian dish that has survived for centuries over much of the "innovative modern" creations served today. I suppose it's "different strokes for different folks". Yes, Madeo is expensive…but its classics are perfectly prepared and delicious, and the atmosphere is pleasant and reasonably quiet, not like the deafening noisy "cool and modern" places that seem to be the rage today.

Best trout in LA

Yes, the trout at Seasons 52 is good, but not nearly as good as that served at Houston's

Oct 12, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Best trout in LA

Houston's restaurants have trout on their lunch menu, but will generally serve it for dinner if requested. It is excellent! They serve it grilled either plain, or Cajun style, and if they have Marcona almonds in the kitchen, will on request serve it with almonds and melted butter...delicious!

Oct 12, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Signs that someone is a GOOD cook

Strange. If you enjoy cooking, why would you not consider attending cooking school in Paris something fun doing? I love to cook and can't imagine turning down an opportunity to attend cooking school anywhere...well perhaps not in Sierra Leone right now!

Oct 11, 2014
josephnl in General Topics

Taco Maria brick + mortar 1st Report, Costa Mesa - Excellent Tasting Menu

Absolutely strange. Have been there multiple times alone and with my partner, and have NEVER been refused counter seating if it was open!! I don't think that they reserve counter seating, so I absolutely don't understand it!! Truly weird!

Oct 11, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Taco Maria brick + mortar 1st Report, Costa Mesa - Excellent Tasting Menu

Obviously Chef Carlos is an accomplished dessert/pastry chef, having worked as such at a Michelin starred restaurant in San Francisco. They have not had the kitchen space to do so, so far at their current location. Rumor has it that they now have additional space and this will change. Can't wait to see the desserts that Chef Carlos is capable of!!!

Signs that someone is a GOOD cook

I think you can tell an awful lot just by looking in the pantry. If you see lots of good basic ingredients such as high quality canned tomatoes, good olive oil, interesting dried beans, good imported pastas, tuna and olives, high quality chocolate, etc. It's a good sign. If you see a lot of prepackaged soup mixes, cans of Cambell's soup, boxes of Kraft Mac 'n Cheese, cans of beans and chile, Spam, Rice-a-Roni, etc. it's not a good sign.

Oct 11, 2014
josephnl in General Topics
1

Marmalade has become crystallized?

Seriously...I know that Scotch tastes good, but will it be better than water in solving the crystallization?

Oct 10, 2014
josephnl in Home Cooking

Marmalade has become crystallized?

I discovered in the back of the frig a jar of wonderful marmalade that I've forgotten about for a few months. It still tastes great, but has a granular mouth feel because some of the sugar has crystallized. I'm tempted to just add a bit of water and warm it in the microwave, but really don't know the best way to fix this. Recommendations?

Oct 10, 2014
josephnl in Home Cooking

Instant-Read Meat Thermometer Help

Get a Thermapen!! They cost close to $100, but are super accurate and will last a lifetime. They are without question the best. Nothing else even comes close. Buy one and your worries about cooking meat or poultry properly are done.

Oct 09, 2014
josephnl in Cookware
3

ok, where on the westside can i find a GREAT baked potato with sour cream?

Of course McGee has been the modern father of food/cooking science...and his "On Food and Cooking" remains a classic. Nevertheless, I'm not sure that there is anyone else on TV right now who imparts as much knowledge about food/cooking science to the general public as does Alton Brown. Give credit where it's due!

Oct 08, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Fun Waterfront Restaurants in La Jolla / Near Torrey Pines

For sure in La Jolla go to George's...all three levels have great ocean/cove views, with different degrees of formality. Eddie V's. nearby in LaJ is a terrific seafood restaurant also with great views. If you don't mind driving about 15 minutes further, you can have very good food with amazing views of Coronado Bay and the San Diego skyline at Island Prime or their more casual sibling C Level both on Harbor Island. See: http://www.cohnrestaurants.com/island...

Oct 07, 2014
josephnl in San Diego

Honey Sesame Sticks?

Joyva (the halvah company - halvah is a sesame product) makes terrific honey sesame sticks. They can be purchases from Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/Joyva-Sesame-Cr...

Oct 07, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Hinoki and the Bird…very good, but...

I don't recall precisely what we ordered at Craft...but to best of my recollection:

At both restaurants we (the two of us) each had a cocktail, and had 3 glasses of wine between us. At Craft, I had a salad and a meat entree (lamb, I think). My partner had a salad and fish at each of the two. At HatB, I had the chili crab toasts, then the black cod. At each restaurant we had 2 sides. At Craft we split a dessert; at HatB we each had a scoop of sorbet.

At each restaurant the check was just below $200, and with tip, we paid just over $240. We thought that although the food was very good at both, the overall experience and value at Craft was significantly better.

Oct 07, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Trader Joes... Please, just ring up my groceries.

It would never even occur to me to share the bagging duties with the cashier. At the TJ's I go to it old seem incredibly awkward to do so. I must be lazy and a terrible person to boot! Oh...and at my TJ's I'm not sure that I've ever seen a customer help with the bagging. I must live in terrible place!

Oct 07, 2014
josephnl in Chains
1