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josephnl's Profile

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Reservation Confirmation.

Totally with you. Whether or not required by the restaurant, especially if I'm celebrating a special occasion or going to an especially busy or popular restaurant, I take the initiative to call and confirm the reservation. I know it's appreciated by the restaurant, and it reassures me.

about 10 hours ago
josephnl in Not About Food

Reservation Confirmation.

Having practiced medicine for many years, our policy was that after 2 no-shows without canceling, patients were informed that the 3rd time would result in a full office visit charge. It was rarely a problem.

1 day ago
josephnl in Not About Food

Three dinners in Amsterdam

I used to visit Amsterdam regularly on business and although I don't recall any great dining restaurants there, there were a few pretty good places. We'll be in AMS again in June and need a few good dinner spots. One place I used to like was Zuid Zeeland, right on Herengracht nears Leidsestraat. Another was an excellent Indonesian restaurant whose name eludes me. Another was on a canal overlooking a very picturesque "swinging bridge". We tend to like French or regional food. Any recommendations?

Apr 12, 2014
josephnl in Europe

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

What about Dan Tana? True...it's not really Italian, and not really romantic, but some might consider it close enough. It's certainly a fun experience and the food can be quite good!

Apr 11, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - April 2014

NAY - Butternut Squash Soup. I've been enjoying this soup which comes in a box (container) for years. The past two boxes have tasted different, and not in a good way. I just don't like it anymore. It seems as though they've changed the formula. Anyone else notice this?

Apr 10, 2014
josephnl in Chains

Best Late Weeknight Options in OC?

Thanks for the info!

Apr 10, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - April 2014

We are very lukewarm on Kouign Amanns, but absolutely in love with all of the other croissants. Can't decide whether we like the almond, chocolate, or plain minis best. They are all delish!!

Apr 09, 2014
josephnl in Chains

Eating pizza or burger w/ knife and fork

Sure could...or better yet avoid any unnecessary contact with utensils by folding it in half, then again in quarters and then just chomping down. This works great with 16" pies from Pizza Hut. Yum!

Apr 09, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food
1

Best Late Weeknight Options in OC?

Late night in OC is really difficult. In Irvine where we live, it seems like nothing is open after 11pm with the exception of the Lazy Dog Cafe which is open until midnight every night. It's certainly not great, but if you're hungry and want a decent drink or beer, with passable casual food (burgers, fries, salads, sandwiches, etc.) it's not bad. It's our standby for something to eat after getting off a flight at John Wayne in the late evening.

Apr 09, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Eating pizza or burger w/ knife and fork

Couldn't agree more!

Apr 09, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Eating pizza or burger w/ knife and fork

If I recall properly, most pizzerias in Italy serve pizzas right out of the oven without being cut into slices like here in the US. It would be amusing to watch you eat one without using a knife and fork!

Apr 09, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Reservation Confirmation.

Just checked with OT. Four no-shows in a 12 month period results in being kicked out of program and loss of any accumulated points. I guess you could always get a new account, but you would need to use another email address and new phone number...a real pain.

I'd welcome another CH who's in the know commenting re the n/s rate with OT vs. that with phone reservations. I'd bet it's either the same or maybe even lower.

Apr 09, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Reservation Confirmation.

I doubt very much that restaurants have a greater no-show rate with OT reservations than with telephone reservations. Two reasons: 1) It is impossible to double book using OT, and more importantly, 2) if you no-show for an OT res, you not only get a strong dunning email automatically from OT, but you get noted in their system. If you no-show more than 2 or 3 times, you automatically get kicked out of OT.

Apr 09, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

+1

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

duck press

I suppose that if your weeknight service is silver and for weekends and/or more formal soirées you use gold, they might make you a special deal on two duck presses...one silver plated, and one in gold...and if you include some custom Limoges dinnerware, who knows what a bargain you might get!

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Cookware

Garlic Press - do you believe in them?

Probably sacrilege here, but for most cooked dishes which call for finely minced garlic, I pop in a cube or two of the Dorot frozen garlic which is now available at TJ's, Whole Foods, and many other markets. It's easy, clean and tastes just fine. There are a few dishes that I make where I prefer thin slices of fresh garlic (some pastas, chicken cacciatore, etc.) and that's what I use. I can't remember the last time I used my beautiful and expensive German garlic press (it's Rösle, I think)!

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Cookware

duck press

This one looks very, very nice...and if you are truly in the market for what appears to be the real deal, I'm not sure you can beat this.
http://www.graciousstyle.com/buy/duck...

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Cookware

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

I'd be thrilled to buy you a round or even two! Is there some way we can communicate privately to arrange this?

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

In an earlier life, I worked for a large company, traveled extensively, and had a very generous expense allowance. I ate well when traveling, but always used as my guideline "is this something I would order if I were paying for it". If so, I always felt comfortable charging the company for it (but, if truth be told, I often personally took care of the first $50 or even more). I never felt guilty, nor did I ever have an expense report questioned. When I'm someone's guest, I use the same guideline...is this something I would order if I were paying (but, I also make allowance if my host is someone less able to pay than am I).

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

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

You're joking I assume. Considering the quality of the food, the complexity of the preparations, and the á la minute work of the multiple cooks/chefs, it's a bargain at $48 for 4 courses.

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

wag…you are responding to my post, so I think I should answer. I truly think we are on the same page, but for clarity: I would be shocked (and I guess upset) if my guest were to order beluga caviar ($200) with a glass of Dom Perignon (($50), foie gras ($45) with a glass of Chateau D'Yquem ($70), or a starter pasta with fresh Italian truffle ($80 or so). Yes, when I am someone's guest, I feel comfortable in ordering what I want (as though I were paying for it), and although I think I am generous, I expect the same reasonable consideration from my guest(s).

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

I think it's a very different story when you take a child to a restaurant. Certainly it's not only fine, but appropriate, to guide your kids in ordering at an "adult" restaurant. But…when I host an adult who is a close friend, I would like my guest to feel comfortable ordering whatever he/she really wants. That being said, both I and most of my good friends, I think, would use discretion in ordering.

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area
2

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

Sorry…I still don't get it. What is the connection with Taco Maria? Do they feature his wines? Do you think that Burgs go well with the food served at TM?

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

Agree completely wsg!

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

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

Who is Colin Morey, and where do you get these "Burgs"?

Apr 08, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

And it will easily be within budget!

Apr 07, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Dishwasher Advice for office - Bosch or Miele

We love our Bosch. And it's super quiet which is a real plus!

Apr 07, 2014
josephnl in Cookware

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

We've had 2 dinners at Il Grano that were very different. The first was about a year ago when everything was perfect. We absolutely loved it! Returned about 2 months ago and had a totally different experience...from waiting 45 minutes for rolls (we arrived just as the restaurant opened), to mediocre food and service. We have not returned. Have other CH's been recently and how was it?

Apr 07, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

Valentino is great, but the ambiance IMHO is very cold, the service although proper is not warm, and I guess I have a hard time considering it romantic. I'd definitely choose Madeo or even Piccolo Paradiso first.

Mmm...another thought..perhaps silly. It's not the westside, but it has an outdoor roof deck, very good Italian food, is romantic and is in your budget! But it's in Long Beach!! If you don't mind driving 30-40 minutes, Michael's on Naples would definitely fill the bill

Apr 07, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

I'd definitely 2nd Piccolo Paradiso. Food is great, it's within your budget, and if you're with that special person can certainly be romantic in a cozy Italian trattoria sort of way.

I personally prefer Madeo for Italian food on the west side, but it's larger, has a less romantic vibe, and is likely more expensive than PP.

Apr 07, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area