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Brand new in Silicon Valley: where should I eat?

Dio Deka in Los Gatos in well worth the trip. I travel to the area from LA from time to time, and always try to save time to have lunch or dinner there...it's "modern" Greek cuisine, the like of which you just can't find in LA right now...

http://www.diodeka.com/

Jul 14, 2009
mangefromage in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I buy Dutch Process Cocoa Powder????

I get it at Surfas

Apr 21, 2009
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

cheapest grass fed beef?

why not order directly from a local farmer (in Paso Robles)? Coco Collelmo of Fair Oaks Ranch offers it at about $8 per lb.--you'll have to order in bulk (I think 1/8 of a steer is the smallest), but it's fun to come home to a freezer full of grass-fed beef! I started buying from Coco a few years ago to keep my husband from those "manager's special" steaks at Ralphs, and we've not looked back since. Coco makes regular deliveries to the LA area, too: www.forbeef.com

Apr 21, 2009
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

California Roussannes

Tablas Creek! Have not had the current vintage (2007) yet, but the 2006 Roussanne is lovely. Looks like pricing is around $25 retail, though it may be wine club only (I'm in the wine club, so not sure where to find it in stores): https://www.cleverconcepts.net/tablas...

Apr 02, 2009
mangefromage in Wine

Big Mama's and Papa's (Khachapouri)

OMG. I had my first Khachapouri last night at Big Momma's & Papa's in WeHo, and wow, it's amazing. Best comfort/hangover/heart-attack worthy meal EVER.

Nov 21, 2008
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Dio Deka in Los Gatos

Yay! I love this place!

Oct 08, 2008
mangefromage in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommendations for anniversary

Melisse in Santa Monica. Probably the best meal I've ever had in LA. Fantastic tasting menus/wine pairing and you can mix and match between the menus. Totally earns those 2 Michelin stars.

I went to Providence for my anniversary in June--it was lovely, with great service, good food. Went to Melisse for a work dinner a week later and was blown away. Next year, that's where I'll be spending my anniversary.

Oct 06, 2008
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Westside wine bars?

BottleRock!! Rocks. The truffle grilled cheese sandwiches are To.Die.For. And there's a huge wine list to choose from, all styles, all price ranges. Good beer too. Had the Allagash Curiaux (sp?) on tap last week with duck breast salad. They're on Main Street, just north of Culver Blvd. Rumor is there is a downtown LA location on it's way...

Oct 06, 2008
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Best Taco Stands in LA

At Tito's order a tamale, too. The sauce that comes with it is awesome. Or just ask for a side of the tamale sauce and put it on your tacos.

Oct 06, 2008
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Best Taco Stands in LA

Carniceria Sanchez on Inglewood, just south of Culver. The real thing, fried in lard. For healthy style (grilled) and just as tasty, try TacoMiendo across the street. Both are Culver City.

Tito's is definitely worth a try if you on a taco tour. Some of the best tacos I've ever had were at Cactus Taqueria on Vine and Willoughby in Hollywood.

Oct 06, 2008
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Good eats near-ish to Century City?

CRAFT!! Even if you can't afford dinner--it's great to sit at the bar, have a fantastic glass of wine (it's a well-honed list by the glass) and a few appetizers. I highly recommend the sausage stuffed sage leaves with a crisp white wine...mmmm.

Oct 06, 2008
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

One lunch and one dinner in San Jose area - suggestions?

Dio Deka in Los Gatos is my go-to place whenever I'm in the San Jose area. There is nothing in LA like it that I know of---New York maybe. It's upscale Greek/pan-Mediterranean. Think Anthos in New York. The Branzino is lovely, and be sure to get the Saganaki starter (fried cheese). So good!

Oct 06, 2008
mangefromage in San Francisco Bay Area

Healdsburg

Barn Diva!

Or for an awesome neighborhood bistro, check out Mirepoix, in Windsor, just a few minutes south of Healdsburg on the 101. By far my favorite place to eat in all of Sonoma County. Don't forget to order fries, which are fried in duck fat. Everything is good, and the wine list has a good range of nice values by the glass.

Sep 12, 2008
mangefromage in San Francisco Bay Area

Fine weekend lunch in San Jose area?

here's the website: http://www.diodeka.com/

Sep 12, 2008
mangefromage in San Francisco Bay Area

Fine weekend lunch in San Jose area?

Definitely try Dio Deka in Los Gatos if you're looking for a Sunday spot. The brunch menu actually features a number of lovely savory items from the regular menu. It's a white-tablecloth experience, and still a good place for kids--the staff is very accommodating and it's not too crowded on Sundays.

Sep 12, 2008
mangefromage in San Francisco Bay Area

Three Forks in Claremont?

I ate at Three Forks two weeks ago for a family birthday dinner in Claremont. Nice ambience--the whole West Village Expansion (the new neighborhood in Claremont that Three Forks is anchored in) is very cool. For the price, I prefer Lucques or Craft, but it's the best thing going as far as fine dining goes in the 909.

We were a rather large dinner party, so I got to try many dishes--the Elk loin was by far the favorite, and benefited from a simple preparation. Several other dishes had way too much going on (like the restaurant's website)--they sounded great, but faltered in execution. Two folks at our table had the surf and turf and were disappointed by how dry the turf portion turned out--I think it was buffalo that evening. My shortribs were a little tough, and way too many things were going on with the ingredients: savory polenta and mushrooms, sweet grapes, and then what I could only recognize as Ranch dressing drizzled on top like an accident, or an afterthought--it looked weird, like white paint on an otherwise earthy and pleasant landscape, and tasted weirder. Desserts were yummy, though to be honest, I'd had so much wine at that point, I can't point to any specifics.

Service was excellent--more hospitable than my experiences at Craft. I'm in the Claremont area fairly often, and will try to provide more details on the dishes when I return--which I will. The restaurant alone may not worth the drive, but the town itself is, and Three Forks is the best place in town. I'm looking forward to exploring more of the menu.

As for the tanktop, that's the beauty of the 909. The attire was predominately business or business casual the evening we dined there, and I was actually surprised by the tanktop photo--too bad.

Nov 08, 2007
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Best Burger in LA?

Went to 25 degrees last night for the first time--EXCELLENT burgers. Perfect tasty decadence paired with a great glass of wine. I had the #2--ground sirloin, topped with grilled tomatoes, prosciutto, burrata and pesto--wow it was sooo good. Did the half and half onion ring and fries split with my dining mate-the fries were impeccably thin and crips, and the onion rings juicy. He built his own burger from ground sirloin, Point Reyes blue cheese, caramelized onions, and garlic aoli. The wine list is also great, if a tad over-priced, but we felt like splurging so tried a Gruner Veltliner (you can order a "small" carafe with equals about a glass and a half of wine for the price of what most places charge for a glass). It was nice with the iceberge lettuce and Point Reyes Blue cheese salad--the lettuce was little limp, however, which is my only complaint. We then paid the price of a full bottle for a half bottle of a lovely Burgundy--which, next to the awesome burgers, was well worth it. We walked there and back home--good way to earn an incredible meal. Oh, and the booths are cozy, and the service top-notch.

Nov 14, 2006
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Citizen Smith -- more like Citizen Ick!

Been there twice now--I like the decor, and the patio is a nice place to sit when there's a breeze and it's not as crowded earlier in the evening--actually has a big city feel, set as it is between two buildings.

The food however, was inconsistent. This time around my friend ordered a steak--it was cooked perfectly medium rare, and though we ordered a sampling of all three topping sauces (blue cheese, bearnaise, and a sour vinaigretter), it tasted great all alone. My ahi was cold, and over-seasoned, as if they tried to cover up the fact that it'd obviously been seared while frozen and then left on the counter. Highly disappointing.

Dessert was the highlight. Great caramelized apple tart, and a "frozen hot chocolate"--really just a milkshake in a brandy snifter, but yummy just the same on a hot night.

Wine list is just sad, and knowing so, we brought our own wine. But alas, they didn't have a decanter in the house. Ridiculous, especially considering I paid $25 corkage (twice!!) but I should have known better when I saw that a 40-oz. Old English 800 was listed on the specials board as "Urban Swill" for $15.

It's all about image here, it seems, and the more baroque and idiotic, the better.

Jul 27, 2006
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Good bakeries/treats in Beverly Hills/Century City?

Clementine, all the way!

Jul 14, 2006
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

If you were going to die tomorrow...

A big, buttery, croissant from Some Crust Bakery in Claremont. (the last bastion of foodie civilization on the eastern border of LA County). Seriously, the best this side of Paris.

Followed by the cheesecake and fresh blueberry-filled pinwheel pastry, or killer bearclaw, also at Some Crust.

If Armageddon was coming too fast to make the 40-minute drive out there, then I'd grab a coconut cupcake from Joan's on Third.

Jul 14, 2006
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Lunch in Pasadena

Green Street is the salad place with zucchini bread. good stuff, moderately priced, but I'd make a reservation ASAP.

For healthy Mexican, I like Dona Rosa's on Arroyo Parkway. It's counter-service, but fresh and tasty, with a nice patio if you're in the mood to camp out.

Jul 14, 2006
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Claremont & surrounding area: Lunch Spots?

I've spent A LOT of time in Claremont over the years, so here's a quickie list of my favorites as they come to mind. It's hard to find such a great collection of eclectic and artisanal cuisine anywhere in the 909 as you'll find in the enclave of Claremont's village.

-Some Crust Bakery on Yale in the Claremont village has awesome pastries for breakfast, great sandwiches for lunch.

-Wolfe's Market on Foothill Blvd. and Harvard Ave. The best gourmet deli around for miles. The kitchen also has an extensive array of salads and goodies--excellent lunch choice, and you can sit on the patio.

-Skip Joey's and the Hat and head to Walter's for authentic Afghani cuisine. The burger is good (I personally prefer Heroes for my coronary-clogging meals). The lamb is wonderful and the Afghan fries are among my top-five fried food favorites. Buy a baguette to take home to chew on later.

-Full of Life Bakery on Bonita is also great for fresh, slow food style breads and salads.

-Head to the Press for great vegetarian food, live music at night, and yummy cocktails, from key lime martinis to micro-brews on tap. Good scene.

-My personal favorite, only open for dinner:La Piccoletta. This serious, home-style, rustic, REAL Italian food at its best. Very romantic communal dining. I'm sad Chef Linda sold it, but I hear the new chef is great. This place is a gem--it's on Indian Hill, located in the alley behind Nick's coffee shop--another great find, BTW.

-Oooh, and for dessert, home-made ice cream from the shoppe on the corner of Bonita and Yale (across from Rhino Records). The name eludes me at the moment.

-The Village Grille is the greasy spoon of choice to eat away your hangover (after too many key lime and chocolate martinis at the press) and watch the locals parade by

Have fun! It's a great town!

Jul 14, 2006
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Burrata cheese

in LA, you can find it at Whole Foods and most cheese shops. I'd check out WF up there to see if they have it. It's addicting!!! I've not been able to go back to regular mozzarella since trying it last year. Little bit of peppery Tuscan olive oil, fresh basil, and a juicy tomato--food of the Gods!! Seriously, I could just eat that for the rest of my days...

Jul 13, 2006
mangefromage in San Francisco Bay Area

Gruner Veltliner

Anyone tried the Oriel Gruner Veltliner? I had it at a tasting in the OC recently--yummy. It's called "Ortolan".

Jul 13, 2006
mangefromage in Wine

Anyone taste anything nice this weekend?

Mmmm...Moscato. From Kanye West: "Hypno, Crysso, I mean whatever
Saracco Moscato it do taste better." I'd have to agree...had it this weekend with an heirloom tomato trifle, fresh strawberries, white peaches, and the Sunday paper...sweet sauce! I picked it up for $15---so good I'm planning to buy a case--perfect summer sipping.

Jul 13, 2006
mangefromage in Wine

Processco for a brunch gift? Cava?

I love Adami Garbel Prosecco. It's perfect brunch stuff--tiny bubbles, well-balanced fruit. Lovely and affordable at around $12. Adami is highly-acclaimed in Italy.

Jul 13, 2006
mangefromage in Wine

The Hungry Cat?

I love the pug burger. Crab cakes, fries, and oysters were all excellent when I was last there a few months back. It's a bit expensive for such a strange little space. Felt like eating in a submarine it's so narrow.

Jul 12, 2006
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

Tender Greens - Open & Excellent

I went to tender greens last night for dinner. I had the ahi tuna hot plate, with the spinach salad and yukon mashed potatoes. I was initially a little disappointed that my plate only had for slices of ahi on it, but they proved succulent and lovely enough to withstand the large salad (in a Cabernet vinaigrette, no less) with hazelnuts and goat cheese and the creamy potatoes. Excellent combo plate, and I was especially pleased by the many hazelnuts throughout the salad. Could've used a bit more goat cheese to balance the acid of the vinaigrette, but then again, I'm a cheese fiend.

My friend ordered the steak sandwich and the same salad. She loved it. The bread on the sandwich was great--just toasty enough to hold it all together.

Only drawback. The ordering line, and extremely small space at the entrance where people are required to order and look at the large menu on the wall. Leads to general chaos, wherein line-cutters are able to advance while those of us who may already know what we want to order, but are still perusing the menu for future reference are left in melee. Made me rather mad, as I'd been patiently waiting my turn. But the watermelon agua fresca and patio seating made it all better. I'll go back, I'll just be more militant about my place in line.

Jul 12, 2006
mangefromage in Los Angeles Area

New restaurant in Los Gatos?

I heard it's upscale Greek...

Jul 07, 2006
mangefromage in San Francisco Bay Area